David has the cover of TIME next week. Hillary is on the cover – the headline is “The Fighter”. I guess that’s the truth.
But how far will the fight take her? There’s not going to be a knockout. The fight will be called by TKO. For those of us who don’t watch boxing—and why should we, that means judges make the decision after one of the boxers is beyond battered. In this case it will be Super Delegates.
There is one thing that is absolutely true about this Presidential cycle. There will be a clear choice between John McCain and whoever is the Democratic nominee. I guess McCain had to go to the White House and get an endorsement by the President. Do you think he was late because he was reluctant to go? Or maybe having second thoughts. I’d like to hope so. The pundits say that this endorsement will bring skeptical conservatives on board. I don’t think so. Even skeptics about where a McCain Administration will go don’t want four more years, (or eight if he lives that long), of another Bush-like government. Or at least I hope that even conservatives (the ones that aren’t rich), are concerned about the economy, environment, growth of government, education, oil prices and health care. Every issue area is a disaster – is that really something with which McCain wants to be associated.
The only interesting news from the Republican side is that Huckabee is going to have his own talk show. Not surprising. But I wonder if the little Baby Jesus wants non-religious television time. Originally, I thought he was staying in the race to increase his speaking fees. But I underestimated where he wanted to go. He wanted a new career and if it couldn’t be a talking head in the White House, it might as well be as an entertainer. Most people think he’s pretty funny. I think he is just a guy who was different from all the other candidates because he was consistent in his beliefs, spontaneous in his answers and had a sense of humor about what he was doing. As I have said before, his absence from the race is a loss to any of us who, agree or disagree, revelled in his honesty.
Barack Obama is going to go after Hillary Clinton. He is not going to let her get away with putting out false information or ugly innuendo. Although I prefer to think of it as outunnedo, because the information is always out there. This may be a strategy mistake. I agree that he needs not to let the Clinton campaign get away with any of this nonsense, but people liked him as the articulate visionary who made her negative rhetoric seem small and unimportant. I also agree that he has to appear stronger and able to play hardball but it doesn’t necessarily have to come directly from the candidate. It can come from credible surrogates – who have his support. I like the one step removed because it keeps him untarnished and view as someone who won’t do silly. Ridicule is just a good technique when you are trying to diminish what your opponent is saying.
The Clinton campaign is certainly fighting back successfully, and they are doing it by finally designing a message and repeating it over and over. It worked in Texas and Ohio because people are concerned about terrorism in their future. People want to be reassured about the fact that the President can respond in a strong and meaningful way to any threat. However, here’s what is confusing. They want an inspirational visionary who will give them hope as well as someone who can be tough, and dirty and who will not take any crap from any renegade nation—or France. Someone who will spring out of bed at 3a.m., kiss his wife goodbye, make his way to the situation room (whose décor is thick comfy leather chairs around an oval table—they like to keep with the oval theme in the Casa Blanca) and charge ahead with smart thoughtful decisions that will keep us out of a war.
Clinton was smart to finally visualize for the nation the issue of (in)experience and Obama was smart to finally ask what kind of (in)experience she has as well. She did travel to many countries and meet with heads of state and women leaders, but was she there to discuss foreign policy or “make nice”. There is a difference. Not that her trips were unimportant—they were. And since the US no longer has a public diplomacy effort (despite what you see in State Department literature), first spouse/surrogate trips will become even more important. But she needs to define the word Experience and he needs to explain why all his Experience will prepare him for the overwhelming task of taking a phone call. Is it 3 a.m. yet? We’re just sayin...Iris